In keeping with our commitment to fostering critical thinking skills, BASIS.ed incorporates interdisciplinary coursework throughout our program. We believe that teaching students to make connections across disciplines, to ask questions and seek solutions and answers across traditional disciplinary boundaries, produces creative and independent thinkers and prepares our students for life and work in the 21st century.
While all BASIS.ed coursework includes some level of instruction in interdisciplinary thinking, the Senior Project is perhaps the most salient example of these skills at work.
Each year, the BASIS.ed community has the pleasure of celebrating the accomplishments of our entire network of students, participating each year in the presentations of their findings. The richness of the accomplishments of the students knows no limit; we'll share with you each week the abstracts and videos for you to get to know some of our students. Meet Rachel K, BASIS Flagstaff Class of 2016, and keep reading for her presentation abstract.
FAULTY FORENSIC EVIDENCE AND FALSE CONVICTIONS
Rachel K., BASIS Flagstaff
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Corey Hartman
External Advisor: Colleen Maring
Location: Arizona Innocence Project
In criminal law, the standard to convict is beyond a reasonable doubt. Due to this incredibly high standard, expert testimony is key to a jury’s verdict, and forensic evidence is the “proof” many juries need to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. But not all forensic sciences are created equally, and faulty forensic evidence can have drastic consequences. The Arizona Innocence Project has a number of cases in which scientifically inaccurate forensic evidence was used to falsely convict, leaving innocent people in prison for decades. Here, we show the relationship between faulty science and false conviction. By working with these cases hands-on in the aftermath of conviction, we can examine how this evidence directly affects convictions and how the truth about its scientific invalidity can be hidden from jurors, judges, and defendants. Our justice system is meant to be based in truth and evidence, and improperly relying on forensic evidence can not only convict an innocent person, but it can set free a guilty one. For more, read Rachel's blog documenting her experience during her Senior Project.
To read more about our experience at this year's Senior Project presentations, don't miss this post. Curious to learn more about Senior Projects and their importance? Come visit us at an upcoming event:
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